Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is it 1930?

In 2010, especially at a time when the city is considering a tax on soda, a fee on trash pick up, and a 10% increase on real estate tax just to milk us for a few pennies to keep this city from sinking into the Delaware, one would think that the city and state would be watching our money like Ebenezer Scrooge. Instead, somehow lawyer Jeffrey B. Rotwitt has managed to work both sides of the system, naming himself the development czar of the new, $200M Family Court Building at 15th and Arch. Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille agreed to Rotwitt's fees, allowing Rotwitt to write himself a check from the city for $55,000 a month as a retainer and ultimately $3.9M, without a contract to build anything.

The reaction from Rendell, "we're looking into this," while Mayor Nutter and City Council merely remarked that this was a "gray area". Great job guys, way to keep those palms greased. Maybe you can make up for it by taxing the people who elected you every time they shit.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Urban Aggy"?


This is one of the many, no-brainer ideas to come out of Philly that looks great on paper and begins to deteriorate as soon as it leaves the drawing board. It's one thing to seed-bomb vacant lots but acquiring vacant land from the city for some kind of agricultural land trust currently requires and act of god. For the same reason the city doesn't pass off tax delinquent properties to first time home buyers and middle class residents to fix up these rotting neighborhoods, vacant land owned by the city is controlled by an antiquated ward system that makes our corrupt City Council members mayors of their ward, allowed to hoard vacant properties for powerful constituents. What's even more frustrating is these council members often praise plans like this, knowing full well that by the time planners start implementing these projects, a NIMBY will inevitably step forward and bully it right out of existence. It's a great idea but any realistic movement on it is going to require these bearded hipsters to look at the larger picture, or become a part of the broken Philadelphia machine and start shopping for some wealthy eccentrics to bribe City Council for control of the land.